Texas Rangers

Could a Rangers starting pitcher be picked for All-Star Game? Minor’s making a great case

Josh Hamilton will be the headliner Aug. 17 as the Texas Rangers add two new members to their Hall of Fame.

The other is Richard Greene, the former Arlington mayor who was a driving force in keeping the Rangers in Arlington by securing the deal that got Globe Life Park built in 1994.

If another city tried to swoop in to woo the Rangers away, it ran into an elected official who wasn’t going to let his resume be tarnished by seeing a professional sports franchise slip away.

So, he fought like hell.

If another city was linked to the Rangers, Greene went on the record to the media with all of the potential suitor’s faults. Dallas, Addison, Irving and others were, at minimum, rumored to have interested in landing the Rangers.

“It certainly became a priority early in my mayoral service,” said Greene, who was Arlington’s mayor from 1987-1997. “I had no idea that we were going to pretty quickly be engaged in what turned out to be a two-year process of ensuring that Arlington remained a major-league city.

“And, yes, we did fend off all comers. I think by the end of the whole process, Dallas had offered up four different sites for a ballpark there. Plano was in the hunt. So was Irving. With a bit of bravado, my direction was this was not going to happen on my watch. It was going to result in exactly what happened, which was the people of Arlington stood up and proved their can-do spirit one more time.”

There weren’t nearly as many citizens of Arlington watching the Rangers on Monday night, but those who did attend saw a pretty good, albeit unnecessarily nerve-wracking, show.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from a 10-9 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

1. Mike Minor could have three more starts this season against the Seattle Mariners, who hope to heck that’s not the case after what he has done to them in his first two this season.

The left-hander allowed two earned runs in six innings and struck out 11. Minor allowed one run and struck out a career-high 13 over seven innings April 26 at Seattle.

“I feel like we mixed it really well, and my strengths play to their weaknesses,” said Minor, who set a Globe Life Park record with 29 straight scoreless innings. “As long as I make my pitches and mix it up, I feel like I can get them out. I feel like it’s a good lineup for me.”

He improved to 5-3 and saw his ERA climb from 2.61 to 2.64. He should still be the MLB leader in WAR for pitchers when someone with more time and brains than Rangers Reaction runs the numbers.

Minor has made 10 starts this season and thrown 64 2/3 innings. He has 67 strikeouts. Six weeks out from the All-Star Game on July 9 at Cleveland, he stands as a very strong candidate to make the team.

It’s looking more and more like Joey Gallo will be there, in the game and not just in the Home Run Derby. Gallo homered and singled to boost his average to .285, and he continues to be among the league leaders in traditional newfangled statistics.

Elvis Andrus and Shin-Soo Choo are also making a case, though Andrus is having trouble adding to his resume from the injured list. His stay should ended Saturday at Anaheim, where Minor will make his next start.

And that’s good news for the Mariners, as Minor won’t be available for the three-game series that follows.

2. The Rangers clubbed five home runs, and were darn glad to have them after Shelby Miller allowed a grand slam to Tim Beckham in his first relief appearance since being removed from the rotation.

The Mariners had a couple bloopers as they loaded the bases, but Beckham’s homer was a no-doubter. Miller had pitched a perfect seventh inning.

The Mariners needed another granny, as it turned out. Their three runs in the ninth against Chris Martin weren’t quite enough.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit two homers, and Rougned Odor, Hunter Pence and Gallo also went deep. Four of those homers came as the Rangers went back-to-back twice.

Odor hit a three-run homer in the first before Cabrera’s first solo homer, and Pence hit a two-run homer in the seventh before Gallo hit his 14th of the season.

Cabrera took Mike Leake deep both times.

“We’ve been swinging pretty good this year, so I’m not surprised,” Cabrera said. “We came to swing at good pitches, and he threw some pretty good pitches to hit and we did a pretty good job. After the first inning, he made a little adjustment.”

Yes, the Rangers have gone back-to-back twice in the same game previously in club history. They’ve done it five other times, with the last instance coming 2009 at Anaheim as Hamilton and Hank Blalock did it in the first inning and Michael Young and Omar Vizquel did it in the fifth.

It was 10-2 after the Pence-Gallo combo in the seventh before the Rangers’ Miller problem re-emerged. Kind of like one of his starts, he was very good and then struggled once a couple runners got on base.

Maybe he needs to work only in one-run stints. Maybe the Rangers will consider the bad luck he had, like when a sliding Choo couldn’t hang onto a liner to left field and the blooper to left that followed.

Miller will get more chances, but for the time being they might come only when the Rangers are up 10-2.

3. Attention fantasy baseball players: Jose Leclerc could return to the closing games for the Rangers on Tuesday.

The catch is it might not be a permanent stay, but the situation that manager Chris Woodward envisioned for getting Leclerc a trial run at closer will present itself if the Rangers are up in the ninth inning.

Martin won’t be available after pitching two games in a row. Shawn Kelley will be reinstated from the IL, but Woodward said that he doesn’t want to give him a save chance in his first outing back.

That leaves Leclerc by default, and that’s is how Woodward wanted to give him his first chance back in the ninth inning.

“It’s just one of those things where right now, most likely, it’s going to be a situation like that where we’re out of necessity,” Woodward said. “That’s kind of how I envisioned it getting back to him, and then seeing how he responds.”

Leclerc has struck out 10 batters in his past 4 1/3 innings, including five of the six batters he faced Sunday over two perfect innings in the fifth and sixth.

Kelley has been the Rangers’ best reliever this season, but he had surgery Thursday to have lumps removed from his throat. He expects to get the results of a biopsy Wednesday or Thursday.

4. This one won’t elicit much excitement from the fan base, but it’s a significant transaction: The Rangers took back Rule 5 pick Reed Garrett from the Detroit Tigers.

The Rangers lost him in December, and general manager Jon Daniels expected that the right-hander was gone for good after he made the Tigers’ Opening Day roster. But a Rule 5 pick must stick with the team that drafts him all season, and the Tigers designated Garrett for assignment last week.

He cleared waivers, which meant that the Rangers could either take him back or work out a trade. Short on relievers at Triple A Nashville and hoping that they would have never lost Garrett, the Rangers jumped at the chance to have him returned to them.

“Knowing what Detroit’s objectives were for the year, I wasn’t expecting to get him back,” Daniels said. “I’m pretty pleasantly surprised. He’s a great person, and he’s got a great arm. We’ll send him over to Nashville, let him settle in, and he’ll be an option for use this summer.”

Garrett’s average fastball velocity in 15 1/3 innings was 96.3 mph. He does not go on the 40-man roster, but he has a full complement of minor-league options available to him one he is added to the 40-man roster.

That should happen if he finds he way again after posted an 8.22 ERA with the Tigers and walking more batters (13) than he struck out (10). The Rangers are going to need relievers the rest of the season, and it is Daniels’ preference to give those innings to younger pitchers.

Right-hander Josh Fields, who was added on a minor-league deal May 11, is an option even though he’s 33 years old.

“It’s whoever is throwing best will get the opportunity,” Daniels said.

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After 12 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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